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Remodeling My Soul and Home

Its 2 AM and the burning to write drove me out of bed and into the kitchen.

I brewed myself a cup of tea, and curled up on the couch.

The other night , on my solo time at Barnes and Noble, I wanted to cry more then anything else and so I wept all the way up 10th Ave and drove myself to the Walmart parking lot because that has the best views in town of the Full Moon and the Highwoods.

What ever reason it is that my soul is stirring, I know I will sleep better and be more relaxed tomorrow if I write the words and give them wings.

We are doing this crazy thing. This thing that makes me wonder if we have lost our minds. This thing that my ego ( the perceiving, analytical, logical part of my mind) calls ‘out of my mind’.

We are sorting through our stuff, getting rid of tons of it, finishing up our house remodel, putting it up for sale, and living in a camper for the summer.

Let me back up. Seven years ago, in March, we moved across country to do Doctoring for our daughter who had a severe genetic disorder. Five years ago in January, we lost our only daughter. We moved nine times in the past 11 years of our married life. That’s a lot of change and disruption and well, MOVING. Priorities change when you move a lot. STUFF doesn’t look so beautiful or necessary anymore.

When we bought our first and current house, about 3 1/2 years ago, we never wanted to move again. But deep inside, we knew we might. The house was a foreclosure and needed a lot of TLC. It was a perfect house to flip. We put hours and hours of work into this place. We saved money. Very slowly, over the years, we’ve made significant transformations.

Resodding the back yard, reshingling the roof, remodeling the kitchen. Repainting basically every surface in the house and a lot outside more then once πŸ˜‰ New flooring in our living space. It’s transforming into a sweet home.

Sometimes, I feel like the transformation is happening inside of me as well.

Three years ago, back in the initial stages of remodeling, I sat in the bedroom on the mattress that was laying right down on the floor,and cried my eyes out, with the realization that I was broken beyond words and that Jesus found me.

Like the woman at the well in the ancient days, He FOUND me….I didn’t find Him.

I had searched all my life for a deep identity. I felt like there was a missing key that would magically help me understand myself and life.

So gently, God has lead me along. Never giving up on me. Always taking me to a another scene. A new level in life as I am prepared for it.

I knew I was loved,forgiven, and God’s child, from a young age , but that day, I came to a deep, deep understanding. It was like scales fell off my eyes. The years of my searching and my reaching and grasping…every single bit of that desire was from HIM.

He was there.

All along, when I thought I was finding HIM,

HE was actually finding ME.

I didn’t have to worry anymore about saying or doing the perfect thing.

His finding me had nothing to do with logic (ego) or perfection.

It had everything to do with grace and believing and soul truth and BEING FOUND.

I could stop searching for that inner core that I always thought was missing. My brokenness and my weary heart that never got it right…it could REST because He found me.

From here on out, I have been on a whole new level of JOURNEY. I still ask the question, “Who am I? What is my purpose? What if I miss who I am suppose to be?”

I am learning slowly but steadily. I try new things. Just as our house took years to transform ( and technically, we could go on improving it ‘forever’) my heart and soul takes its own sweet time to grow and blossom.

I am finding that when I start listening to my soul instead of my brain, transformation happens. It’s been a long process. I’ve fallen flat on my face in the most uncomfortable, ungraceful ways, more times then I can count. I’ve misunderstood others and been misunderstood by them and goofed up and rambled off on rabbit trails and cried and laughed and worried.

There is never any level of perfection that I reach in life. I’m learning to be ok with that.

Life isn’t about perfection. It’s about always reaching forward. Opening to the next thing that shows up at your door. Listening closely to see if it’s for you. Trying something new.

Going after dreams is not as risky when you are open to learning all you can from the situation.

Like new coats of paint that totally don’t go with your intended color scheme, there is always room for change.

When my ego is in play, I’m logical and I look at facts and details and decide if it’s a good fit or not. That’s all good, but way too often, I listen to my ego instead of my heart or soul. I miss out on some of the best moments when I let fear and logic creep in and try to keep me ‘safe and perfect’.

I Watch for that deep inner tingle. That thrill of -THIS! This is something I could get into! This is the opportunity I’ve been handed.

When you feel a sensation of excitement and a deep stirring. When you wake up excited to work on your dream. Then you know you are following your soul truths.

Our ego can quickly write it off as ‘wishful thinking’. Snuff it out as an ‘ unrealistic dream’. Shame us into thinking we are NOBODY when we are actually a very real, very breathing, very valuable SOMEBODY.

It’s alarming how many dreams crash and burn before they even have a breathe.

Here’s a truth I’m learning though.

Every single dream you allow to breathe and burn in you, will lead you somewhere. Fear of following the wrong dream does not need to cripple your style or your dream.

One step leads to another.

If you are growing and changing and finding fulfillment and passion in life, it is not wasted.

So how does this play into the whole ‘sell your house and live small’ notion?

A few years ago, my husband and I were captivated by the tiny house living that was popping up all over the world. We watched documentaries, hashed and rehashed the pros and cons. It sounded so intriguing. So freeing. At the time, we had our plates absolutely full, our schedules crammed even while trying hard to enjoy the small moments. We had bills to pay and more renovations to accomplish on this house before we wanted to sell it. At the same time, we helped our friends downsize their home. As much as it looked adventurous and fun, we knew it wasn’t for us at the moment.

Fast forward to a crazy busy summer last year, hours of work put into our businesses and house, a hard season in our marriage, and a hard season in our son’s lives.

We took a deep, straight up look at ourselves over the past months.

Here’s what I found was my personal truth when I dug deeper into my life. I was dying inside. Not because I wasn’t passionate and following a good path. But because I was starving myself of soul food. All the steps I took to get to where I was had lead me to this massive realization. As productive and together and wonderful as life was, my soul was shriveling up inside of me.

When you begin listening to the deeper part of you, instead of covering it up with work and volunteering and more obligations, you will be amazed at what you hear.

Now before you read further, you need to know something about me. I never learned to Say ‘No’. Being a ‘good person’ meant always putting everyone first at the expense of myself and even my family. Ouch.

So here’s what I did. I stopped volunteering. I would not have understood myself if I had seen this version of me a few years ago. Serving is good. Working hard is great. But this was my season in life where I had to say ‘No More’.

I needed to create space for Jesus to find me in a new way.

I had to take care of my own soul because if I didn’t, I would die a bit more every day and eventually, the skeleton of who I was meant to be would rattle in my own ears.

I stopped always being ‘ON’. I started doing little things just for me that spoke to my soul. Like artwork. Reading more. I got myself some Moleskin journals even if I thought they were extravagant. I started writing my story.

God had told me to write it over a year ago, and I had thought about it in my heart, but hadn’t really gotten the words on paper. Perhaps that year of self growth WAS writing my story. I was constantly thinking and analyzing and growing as a person.

One thing I knew. I had to put more time and action into actually creating the life I loved. The life that made me truly feel alive.

I started thinking about how I wanted my day to start when I woke up in the morning. The feelings I wanted to thread through my body and home. The way I wanted to end the evening.

Life is never perfect. Ever. But we can always make adjustments in life and allow space for the things we dream about to exist. Let’s be real. When you are up multiple times at night with a baby, you likely won’t have a perfect face in the morning, a pot of french press coffee brewing and a steaming cinnamon roll with Morning Vibes playing on you iPad.

But you CAN make small changes. You can wash your face and sip coffee while you watch a You Tube video with your kids because you’re still too groggy to string words together. You can choose to spend time on a soul filling project instead of having the bathroom mirrors polished.

Now returning to this whole downsizing thing…

Fast forward several more months. My husband and I had honest conversations. Some heated, some soft, some raw, some healing.

Change brings change. There was a stirring and a movement in both of us.

A busy winter and a crazy February with nearly record snow fall and relentless subzero weather let us both gasping for breath and warmth.

All the tiny thoughts that had been stirring our soul.

All the work we’ve put into listening to what really matters to us.

Coming to a better understanding of our priorities and the steps we can take to work toward them.

They all begin to collide and morph together.

We didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to sell our house and move into a camper. This was a step by step process that took years to come to.

Seasons came and went in our lives and right now, we realize that this ONE life we have will never change, unless we change it.

We are opening spaces for change to come. To Happen.

Our initial plan was to remodel, and Air BNB our house out while we lived in the camper. Honestly, though? That would mean being more busy, and we are trying to get off the treadmill.

The more work we put into our house, the more we realized we were wanting something else. We were wanting freedom. Freedom from our stuff. Freedom from trading one busy for another. Freedom from a mortgage payment. Freedom to work and then to shut off the work and to be fully present with our family, others and ourselves. Freedom to let go of excess. Freedom to live in contentment with less stuff and more of what makes life real and complete.

I am far from living my days out perfectly. I get frustrated at the chaos of this season in my house every day. There is still painting and finishing touches to do all over this place. There is sorting and boxing up and deciding what gets sold, what gets stored (what is truly valuable to us) and what gets taken to our camper home. There are two boys who need love and security and attention. There is the fact that our house may not sell immediately. There is the being ok with that. The plan that no matter what happens, we will be following our deep intuition that this is what we want to do at this season in our lives.

It’s not like we have arrived. This will simply lead us to another place in life ( whether geographically or just through self growth, I don’t know.) It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we are doing what we know deep in our hearts is best for us and our family right now.

When you are in the best place for YOU, you will be in the best place for those you love.

Not all our questions have to be answered right now. Not everything needs to make sense. We just need to take a step at a time. Embrace the moment , even when it’s uncomfortable, and know that it will lead us to the next thing. And the next thing.

And by the way, if you are looking for a great family home with the option of continuing the AirBNB in part of it, come chat with us….this may be the next ‘thing’ you are being led to πŸ˜‰

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The Obliger

I’ve been on a bit of an uncomfortable journey the last few months. Sometimes life goes so skippingly along and you find beautiful picnic spots, laughing streams, glorious mountain lakes and sun dampled fields.

Life seems to make reasonable sense, or so you convince yourself. One day, you wake to a strange sensation and you realize that not everything is as it seems, and foreign clouds are rolling in, threatening your brain waves.

What do you do when faced with change and expectations? Those deep inner rumblings reveal so very much about who you really are.

Sometimes sunshine hides the shadows of the soul and only when storms and night take over do the true colors come into existence. Sometimes it’s just a bit hard to actually get to know the person hiding out in those shadows. The person you thought you are and the person you actually are and the person you were meant to be do not always play nicely together. It can be confusing to sort them out and also a bit scary.

Recently I picked up a book at the library that has been on my list for quite awhile. It’s a book that reveals the four general ways people relate to expectations/deadlines.

To do a complete, quick survey, google the website above and check it out! There’s a lot of fascinating information to read through, and lots of great tips in understanding why you react the way you do to expectations.

But back to this whole reaction thing, recently the company I work with had an amazing promotion. You could earn a cruise to the Bahamas, by helping your team members build their businesses and build your own at the same time.

Guys, I was ON FIRE. Years ago, my husband and I had booked a cruise, just the two of us, through a deep discount offer from a credit card company. It was all paid for, and we were going to have an amazing, relaxing time. That cruise never happened because of circumstances that we felt were beyond our control at that time. Honestly? It wasn’t fair. But that is history. 😊

Now this cruise that I could earn, well, it was right down my alley. I wanted to take my husband on that cruise. I knew about hard work and facing fears and dreaming big. I even felt like God wanted me on that cruise in a really big way. I had a talk with Him about it, and He told me to go for it….to jump all in and work hard and He would take care of the rest. So I did.

One of my default modes is busyness. I can stay up crazy hours of the night and run on fumes the next day if I have a fire burning in me. That’s what I did. I worked until midnight and one night until 2 AM . I had goals, baby, and nothing was going to stop me. I could feel it happening. The magic danced in front of my eyes. I tasted the sting of ocean water. I was up early to accomplish more goals. I hired a sitter for my boys once a week so I could have uninterrupted time to work. I lived, breathed, and dreamed work. I bolstered myself up with other people’s hard work as well. I watched videos, took training, planned events and lived my business as whole heartedly as I could.

The weeks slipped by and I realized that only a miracle would get me on that ship. Spots were filling up fast and I still had miles to go. Then the rejections began to set in. It was nothing personal. Just walls and closed doors every way I turned. I was tired. I felt like my family was not getting the care they deserved. The self doubt crept in and one morning, I knew that this was it. I would likely not make it. I sat on the bathroom floor and bawled my eyes out. I was mopping tears from my face, ugly crying, angry, and horribly disappointed in myself. Everything I had worked so hard for seemed to be at a standstill. I heard only silence and the scoff of my own heart. I was eventually asked to accompany my friend as her guest, and my heart thrilled with the hope that I actually HAD heard God correctly and I really would go. Circumstances prevented me from going with her as well, and my heart died a bit more.

Though this painful disappointment, I learned some vital things about myself. As much as I wanted to be on that cruise, I wanted to prove something to myself even more. I wanted to prove that I could do something hard. That I was not a fraud or a fake. When I didn’t meet my own high expectations that were truly a far stretch, I began a mantra of self blame. I felt like a failure and a loser and all the times I never stuck something out came back to haunt me. All the lies I believed as a girl pounded on my mind’s door and I felt like a scared, confused, helpless child who could never measure up to expectations of others. While in my heart, I knew I was going to be ok eventually, my mind was a battlefield of questions and accusation.

One thing became evident. I was feeling worse about ‘failing’ in the eyes of others then I was about not going on that trip. I was more disappointed in myself then I was about not getting on that boat. I questioned the very core of who I was and was ruthless in the pursuit of discovering it. Ironically, I faced a paradox. The more I dove into the core of my heart, the more I discovered that most of all, I needed to give myself grace and space and quiet. I needed to find time to sit in silence and learn the art of stillness. I needed to stretch into the fullness of who I was and let God lead me into who I was to become. I needed to let go of the idea of perfection and revel in the beauty of humanity. I needed to embrace myself so I could embrace others.

Reading the Four Tendency’s was a clarifying reality check for me.

As a general summery, there are 4 ways, that people relate to expectations.

The Obliger- “You can count on me. I’m counting on you to count on me.”

The Questioner- “I’ll comply – if you convince me why. ”

The Rebel- ” You can’t make me , and neither can I.”

The Upholder- ” Discipline is my freedom.”

I am a classic Obliger. It’s why in the past, I have volunteered for things, and then unfairly expected my husband to help out or pick up the slack when I was too tired or overwhelmed to finish. It’s why I have a hard time knowing what I want to do or when I want to do it….” what ever you want is fine with me.” Classic Obliger, Anita.

I am happy when others are happy. I have set expectations for myself that no one even asked me to set simply because I took the responsibility to do it a few times…so doesn’t everyone expect me to continue? I also bury myself in helping others and working my tail off, then crashing into bed, feeling sorry for myself because no one appreciates my hard work or tells me to take a break. If you are not an Obliger, this is likely Greek to you. Why would some one work themselves to the bone and then expect sympathy? Why wouldn’t you take care of yourself so you can perform at higher levels of efficiency ? And why is everyone else’s problem your responsibility?

On the other hand, I am great at caring for others. I can sacrifice hours of my time quite happily and if I know that going to the gym is important to my husband, then I will go work myself into a sweat. I give. I love. I laugh. But I also burn out.

My burnouts are not pretty or glorious. They look like a shut down and feel like a rebel. I have unhealthily buried myself in ‘another project ‘ in the past to avoid feeling that rebel. Part of my struggle over the past months has been a deep disappointment in myself. I found myself saying, ” I NEVER stick to anything successfully.”

Here’s the eye opener. Being an Obliger has that exact tendency. In the past, I was seldom given credit at sticking something out, because I was constantly flitting from idea to idea. One helpful ‘progect’ to the next. Life also threw me lots of curve balls that made long term accountability impossible in some areas. I jumped around a lot. That is prime country for Obligers.

As an Obliger, without accountability and deep mindfulness we can easily fall into the trap of performing for the love of performing for others. Losing our hearts for the expectations of pleasing our family and friends can look like the deepest satisfaction, but one day, we wake up, and realize that we have lost ourselves and our vision in the progress. What started as a good thing has morphed into an unfamiliar sense of overwhelm. That’s where silence, rest, and self care come in. That’s where goals need to be revisited, genuine gifts called out, and lost of praying done. It’s where accountability to oneself and others needs to be firmly established and the curtain raised on a new beginning. It’s where self care is not selfish.

I’m still trying to find my way, but through this whole realization, I came to a fuller understanding of why I have been so disappointed in myself in the past. I have an impossibly hard time of keeping any commitment I make to myself. I need people around me to remind me of my goals and how important they are before I wonder off and get sidetracked in emptying the dishwasher or chasing another idea of service.

I also remembered that earlier this year, God asked me to write my story. That perhaps He wanted me to work so hard and then miss that cruise so He could get my attention and tell me to take time for other important things as well, like following through with His direction. That I need accountability to sit down and write daily instead of doing the 100 endless other things that are never going to go away. That dreams are worth pursuing and my company will have more great adventures available in the future.

I’m an Obliger and I am a romantic and although it’s crazy unhandy at times, I know that I have a job to do in this world that is specific for me. I’m proud of my God. Proud of the work and love He has poured into me. I will shine. It may be a strange glow of rubbing my lamp at midnight, but with His grace, it will be beautiful.

Join me? The Rebel. The Questioner. The Upholder. The other Obliger. ( by the way, we Obligers dominate the population according to research) ☺️

Together we will find our strengths and change the world.

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Of Toddlers and Tantrums

Here’s the real story. It’s not easy being a toddler mom.

It’s incredibly fun and nothing else quite compares to the sweetness of those little hands against your face, and that little Eskimo Kiss. The laughter and the silliness and the total cuteness.

Joy just explodes from his little body. He hugs the cat and rides the dog and picks tomatoes for a snack. He is incredibly cute and sweet.

He’s also incredibly fast and dynamic.

When he has a goal, nothing and no one can stop him. His mind is intent on ONE thing. It usually has to do with Daddy, food, or anything on wheels. Sometimes it’s just the sheer joy of running and the chase that thrills him.

And sometimes it’s the little “catch me if you dare”.

Today I thought he was being the most amazing, quiet toddler, drinking his bottle in the comfy little space I made for him, only to discover that he had escaped out side and was vroom vrooming happily on the lawn mower seat.

It isn’t always pretty though guys! He has a BIG voice , a STRONG opinion, and an unquenchable spirit.

That brings me to to tantrums. I’m starting to look at this whole tantrum thing in a different light. I’m starting to put myself in his place.

Whispering at 5:30 AM?

No thanks! I was just quiet for 10 hour and I’m ready to rumble!

Time to come in?

Of course not! It’s way more fun outside with all the exploring to do!

Go to sleep?

Why would I DO that? I may miss out on the fun!

Sit in my car seat?

Are you out of your mind? Those things have STRAPS!

Don’t hit my brother?

But he’s so much fun to tease!

Water is for drinking.

But have you ever let it run out of your mouth. Repeatedly? Just for fun?

How about emptying the tissue box? Or spreading the snack on the floor?

I mean, who actually swallows peanuts! They are made to chew and spit.

And checkout lines? I mean that’s where I am DONE . No, the bottle is only a trick and Mercy no! I don’t want a SNACK right now. I JUST WANT TO RUN.

Sometimes it’s like chasing a whirlwind. Sometimes I can’t have a decent conversation because I’m talking to the air or over my shoulder 90% of the time.

Do I believe in boundaries? Yes. But honestly guys, if your child is safe, fed and clothed (well …we may be a bit sketchy on the clothed part) then give him the world to conquer!

I feel like our kids have so many negative words spoken over them. Like naughty. Stubborn. Rebellious. Manipulative. It makes me sad to hear these words even In My own brain.

What I used to call a tantrum, I look at as a grand disappointment. What I thought was manipulative behavior is often a plea for attention and understanding and connection. To really be heard and valued. What I thought was stubborn is often just a great big personal preference.

Our children are little people, after all, and too often we treat them with very little respect and a whole lot of authority. Then we demand that they respect us. It usually doesn’t go over too well with me when I feel shamed, forced, or manipulated into doing something. It doesn’t feel good to our children either.

I’m learning to take a moment and look at life through little boy eyes. To take a breathe and feel the feels. It takes time and work and isn’t exactly convenient when the pressure is rising and people are watching and all my triggers are firing. But having that trust and connection guys, it’s going to be so worth it!

Don’t give up on pursuing your children’s hearts, my friend! It’s HARD! I know! We mess up! I SO KNOW! But knowledge is power. Failure is FORWARD. Connection is key.

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Posing

You know how sometimes you feel so unqualified for a job that you are paranoid to say you own it?

That’s how I’ve been feeling about homeschooling. I never intended to homeschool my kids. And then I planned to. And then I didn’t. And now I am. And I am loving it!

I caught myself telling someone recently that I’m going to TRY to homeschool this year and then I corrected myself because they were my friends and I boldly said ” I AM going to homeschool this year ”

And I’m going to do an excellent job.

I don’t know if it will be exactly the way I am hoping. But whether or not it looks tidy and neat or messy and freestyle, I am going to do my absolute best.

Having a medically fragile child for 3 1/2 years taught me to hold all plans and expectations in an open hand. However, sometimes it feels like I err on the side of footloose. Commitment is hard for me since I tried not to make any commitments I couldn’t keep. To make it all a bit more complicated, I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants” person..Naturally. I also have a hard time saying No. And you know what else? I realized that I love to pose.

This book opened my eye to that πŸ™‚

In case you think I’m photogentic, that’s not what I mean πŸ™‚ Posing is this:

I see myself in a place or situation in my imagination that is not my actual reality. Its just that I like that vision of myself so much and I talk about it so much , that I project it into my days and my life and I almost believe its true.

Like living in a tiny house, for instance.

With glass jars of spices and clothing that all coordinates and cute little cubicals of neatly folded clothes.

I would actually like to try the whole tiny house thing some day but right now, its not my reality and no amount of dreaming is going to change that!

My best days have semi organized drawers and books spilling from shelves and baskets and clothes with bold colors.

I’m trying to not be a poser when it comes to home schooling or mothering. Its just a bit hard when you don’t really know what you’re doing, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Its not posing when your heart is in the here and now.

Right here. Right now.

Many of us are holding it together on coffee and a prayer , though. And that’s ok!

Its the reality show days when our whole lifeline is a whisper to our Creator that really make us who we are.

And we stop and wonder at His waves of grace.

On a side note, Glacier and Yellowstone were beautiful this week and we had so much fun exploring Nevada City.

It makes me so grateful to live in Montana! So grateful for my manchilds and mainman!

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It’s Not An Emergency.

Childhood is meant to be carefree. Its meant to be full of play and laughter and creativity.

Some days I want to weep with the loss of freedom and simple pleasures. Our world seems a constant vortex of pain and death, angry voices and short attention spans, money worries and broken relationships and health issues.

Somewhere in the stampede of paying bills and putting food on the table and doing laundry and soccer practise and doctor appointments and vacations and over time , kids are jammed between the cracks, handed an iPad and told to grow up.

I know. That may be extreme. But things move so fast that i. just.can’t. breathe.

Somedays.

It’s one reason we are choosing to homeschool instead of doing the traditional grade school. I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking of getting out the door for school every morning. Maybe your blood pressure rises thinking of being home with your kids all day. Thats ok! We all have our own specific callings in life and one is not better then the other!

Living life intentionally is one of my highest goals. Its hard when you are running on little sleep, when the kids are screaming and the coffee is cold and the trash is overflowing. When the cat knocks over the plant and the toddler empties the cupboard and no one wants to take a bath at night.

Here’s something I’m learning.

“It’s NOT an emergency. “

Sometimes I need to repeat these words over and over to myself. Sure, the slap the kids gave each other was unkind and rude and the level of crying has escalated to a whole new decible.

Its times like this that I see a blank in front of me and all I want to do is STOP this craziness RIGHT now and I feel myself growing tense and coiled ready to lash out at the last straw.

But guys. Its NOT an Emergency. ( unless it actually is)

Breathing deeply. Calming myself before entering their chaos. Understanding that my emotions are all on a hair trigger and reminding myself to connect with my child before addressing the behaviour is what I’m working toward in these tough moments. It’s not easy. It’s intense and draining when all you want to do is scream “Shut Up!” and magically have the noise disappear.

Parenting out of triggered emotion never works well for me and I’m always the one who needs to apologize when I overstep the calm and lend fuel to the chaos.

One of the incredibly hard things for me has been bathtimes. My older sister bathed her 6 children every single evening for as long as I can remember. Every. Single. Evening.

I’m not gifted in that area. Bathtime to me doesn’t have to look perfect. A dip in the pool will wash sweat and dust off, right? πŸ˜‰ Perhaps part of the reason we’ve struggled with bath time over the years is the fact that we had only a small shower stall when Kobe was small.

For some reason that I never have figured out, he always detested washing his hair. He likes being clean but any water that touched his face in the tub would send him into pure panic mode. It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t nearly handle it properly many times. It seemed so ridiculously simple to me to lay back in the tub and wash ones hair.

It caused a total panic for him. One night it all escalated totally out of control. I had made bribes and threats and practised the ‘no wash and the cloth wash’ and probably every other thing that good mommies should never do. Believe me. NOTHING worked. It was like a huge ugly issue . Every. Single. Time.

I was totally DONE. It had been going on for six years.

Six. Years.

I decided this was it! We had a very intential discussion ( when both if us were calm) about how this hair washing thing had totally fallen part and blown out of control on our last try.

We decided together to try again. This time I would go super super slow. I would stop washing his hair at ANY TIME that he wanted me to and hand him a towel to dry his face. It would take as LONG AS HE NEEDED.

We entered it rather apprehensively. I ran about 6 inches of water into the tub, and he got in and laid on his back, his arms propping his body well up above the tub floor and his head tipped back a bit. Ever so gently I began running warm water over his hair and as I did, I spoke in a gentle whisper.

“Imagine you are on the beach in Hawaii. The warm breeze is blowing through your hair and the palm trees are waving overhead. You have your favorite pineapple drink in your hand and the warm sand is all around you….”

Guys. The difference was beyond astounding. He asked me to KEEP WASHING!! He knew I would STOP anytime he felt panic with water on his face (I did) . He was envisioning beauty. He felt safe.

The other day he swam down under water in a three foot pool and I stood and watched him in awe.

He lets me wash his hair. He goes UNDER water BY CHOICE!

Connection guys. Slowing down. Understanding the fear. Helping to control the emotion.

That’s why our kids need us!

Yes, I mess up often. But there is always an apology. A new tomorrow. Another way to say I Love You.

You are important to me. Your opinion matters.

You are my child.

I am here for you!

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Free Handout {grace}

Its dark in our tent and the air mattress whooshes whenever I turn over. There’s the gentle sigh of wind through the aspens and the quiet “oof” of the dog lying guard outside the door.

Night breezes whisper through above me and the even breathe of my husband reminds me That I should probably be sleeping as well.

Our back yard is our camp ground tonight. Its cool and comfy and an adventure of its own kind.

This blog has been a journey into my heart and now is no exception. In just a few days, our Wildflower girl will turn 8 years old. Or will she? I never know how to count years in heaven. My friend who has a son in Heaven told me, with a far away look in her eyes, that she likes to think we will be able to watch our children grow up after we get to heaven. We won’t miss out on their lives at all.

I loved that more then I can say, because to me, Kierra will always be my 3 yr old daughter with the most beautiful hair.

The past week has been tough. I feel my tension rising and my heart rate increasing. You know how it feels to face the inevitable.

Like a birth.

Like a tooth being pulled.

Like the ticket being written out in that flashing car behind you.

Like a thunder storm brewing and no place to run to.

Like a train headed your way .

And you

Can’t

Stop it.

Like the dawn .

Or the sunset.

Thats how it feels right now.

Sometimes I can hardly breathe because all I want is my little girl back. I know deep in my heart that I’d never wish her back to the brokenness in this world. But nothing can stop my mommy heart from longing for that mommy/daughter relationship that ended way too soon .

Kobe was 2 when she died.

He is 6 now. This year has been especially hard for him. Perhaps its his age and the maturity of his brain. Perhaps its because we have been adjusting our parenting method and allowing more wide open spaces and room to explore feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and rejection. Its rung me out and left me sobbing but I feel like healing is coming. Slowly but surely.

He had an especially rough day last week. It wasn’t getting better and finally he broke wide open to me and told me about the deep sadness “so black I’m afraid I will forget her” that made him miss Kierra. He sobbed and sobbed and I held him and wept with him.

Nothing breaks your heart like a child’s grief. And nothing is as healing then those cleansing tears.

I am trying to remember to hand grace around freely right now. But guys, it’s incredibly harder to do then to say.

One of the hardest people to extend grace to is myself. The irony lies in the fact that a graceless life is not likely to share grace. I’m praying for added doses this week, and I’ll take any prayers you offer as well!

I wept today when I let anger rule my response to my little Ky. This was not the mommy I wanted to be at all.

I realize again the importance of rebooting myself. I randomly shut off my phone and hit restart. It always works so much better.

Its the same way with us, my friends!The world will not fall to pieces without us. We WILL fall to pieces if we don’t shut down and reboot occasionally. Life was not meant to live in a frenzy of fear and running from ourselves.

It was meant to be embraced. It was meant to be savored. Shared. Valued.

We diminish that value when we reject our selves and our self worth.

A few of the things that have helped me :

*taking a break from social media once a week. Because of my business, this is not always a 100% break but I shoot for at least 24 hr of minimal social media. We go on drives or explore outdoors.

* writing and reading. It relaxes me.

* doing something creative that may even appear childish or worthless.

* finding a place of beauty. Like a quiet bookstore or coffee shop. A bench by the river. A tent in our back yard.

*

*sitting in the sunshine and feeling the ground beneath me.

*going on a date with my man.

Your list will likely look different then mine. But it will be Beautiful. Because it is YOU!

Grace. Hand it out freely this week.

It is so needed!

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When you Feel -0

I have no idea what to write because 1,000 thoughts are streaming through my head faster then I can catch them.

I want you to know this today.

You are more then your choices. More then your failures. More then your fears.

I woke early this morning to get a head start on my day and my 1 year old had the same idea. I love morning snuggles but what I really wanted was some me time to get the day started strong. Some quiet moments to connect with friends online and straighten crowns with other women.

It didn’t happen and my morning was less peaceful then I had hoped.

Here’s the truth though.

No matter what is happening in life right now, it does NOT have to define you.

You are bold. God calls you HIS CHOSEN.

You are more then the cold coffee and a whole cup of water dumped in your lap. You are more then overflowing laundry baskets and dirty floors. You are more then a gym pole and frizzy hair. More then the unfinished list.

You are not loved more or less because you snapped at your kid and slammed a door.

You are the grace of an apology. The hands of God . The safe place to run to. You are loved. Treasured. Beautiful. Valuable.

Close your eyes. Release the tension in your shoulders. Your face. Your forhead. Breathe so deeply you sink into your chair and rest there …..just being.

You. That’s you. Loved. For simply being YOU.